Biography

​From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lyle S. Bettger (February 13, 1915 – September 24, 2003) was a character actor known most for his Hollywood roles from the 1950s, typically portraying villains. He is perhaps most recognisable as the wrathfully jealous elephant handler Klaus from the Oscar winning film The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lyle was the son of Frank Bettger, who was an infielder for the St Louis Cardinals. An enthusiastic fan of cinema, Lyle left school in his late teens with the ambition of becoming an actor.

Bettger graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. His theatrical debut was in Brother Rat at the Biltmore Theatre in New York City in 1936. After a period languishing in small-time theatre he landed the lead role in the Broadway production of The Flying Gerardos in 1940. When Paramount sent a talent scout to see the show, Bettger was signed on a three-year contract.

Bettger's movie career began when he was cast as the lead in the film noir No Man of Her Own (1950). He soon became a regular on the set of Westerns such as Denver and Rio Grande (1952), The Great Sioux Uprising (1953), Drums Across the River (1954), The Lone Ranger (1956) and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Lyle developed a reputation for playing the bad guy and excelled in villainous roles such as the menacing Joe Beacom in Union Station (1950) and the cold-blooded Nazi Chief Officer Kirchner in The Sea Chase (1955).

Bettger also made many appearances in dramatic roles on television, starring in the 1957 series The Court of Last Resort as well as guesting on Hawaii Five-O, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Bonanza and The Time Tunnel.

Lyle was married to Mary Rolfe (1940–1996) until her death. They had three children: Lyle Jr., Frank and Paula. He was also survived by a sister, Lee Morgan.

Lyle Bettger died on September 24, 2003 in San Luis Obispo County, California.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Lyle Bettger, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

​From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lyle S. Bettger (February 13, 1915 – September 24, 2003) was a character actor known most for his Hollywood roles from the 1950s, typically portraying villains. He is perhaps most recognisable as the wrathfully jealous elephant handler Klaus from the Oscar winning film The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lyle was the son of Frank Bettger, who was an infielder for the St Louis Cardinals. An enthusiastic fan of cinema, Lyle left school in his late teens with the ambition of becoming an actor.

Bettger graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. His theatrical debut was in Brother Rat at the Biltmore Theatre in New York City in 1936. After a period languishing in small-time theatre he landed the lead role in the Broadway production of The Flying Gerardos in 1940. When Paramount sent a talent scout to see the show, Bettger was signed on a three-year contract.

Bettger's movie career began when he was cast as the lead in the film noir No Man of Her Own (1950). He soon became a regular on the set of Westerns such as Denver and Rio Grande (1952), The Great Sioux Uprising (1953), Drums Across the River (1954), The Lone Ranger (1956) and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Lyle developed a reputation for playing the bad guy and excelled in villainous roles such as the menacing Joe Beacom in Union Station (1950) and the cold-blooded Nazi Chief Officer Kirchner in The Sea Chase (1955).

Bettger also made many appearances in dramatic roles on television, starring in the 1957 series The Court of Last Resort as well as guesting on Hawaii Five-O, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Bonanza and The Time Tunnel.

Lyle was married to Mary Rolfe (1940–1996) until her death. They had three children: Lyle Jr., Frank and Paula. He was also survived by a sister, Lee Morgan.

Lyle Bettger died on September 24, 2003 in San Luis Obispo County, California.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Lyle Bettger, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 51

Birthday 1915-02-13

Day of Death 2003-09-24

Place of Birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1973 Police Story (2 episodes)
1970 The Hawaiians as Janders
1969 Impasse as Hansen
1968 Hawaii Five-O (2 episodes)
1967 Mannix (1 episode)
1967 Cimarron Strip (1 episode)
1967 The Fastest Guitar Alive as Charlie
1967 Return of the Gunfighter as Clay Sutton
1966 The Time Tunnel (1 episode)
1966 Nevada Smith as Jack Rudabough
1966 Johnny Reno as Jess Yates
1966 Blue Light (1 episode)
1965 Town Tamer as Lee Ring
1964 Daniel Boone (2 episodes)
1963 Kraft Suspense Theatre (1 episode)
1963 Mr. Novak (1 episode)
1963 Burke's Law (1 episode)
1963 Grindl (1 episode)
1962 Combat! (1 episode)
1960 The Tall Man (1 episode)
1960 Guns of the Timberland as Clay Bell
1959 Law of the Plainsman (1 episode)
1959 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (1 episode)
1959 Laramie (2 episodes)
1959 Rawhide (3 episodes)
1959 Gundown at Sandoval
1958 The Rifleman (2 episodes)
1957 The Court of Last Resort (26 episodes) as Sam Larsen
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral as Ike Clanton
1956 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (2 episodes)
1956 Showdown at Abilene
1956 The Lone Ranger as Reece Kilgore
1955 The 20th Century Fox Hour (1 episode)
1955 Gunsmoke (1 episode)
1955 The Sea Chase as Chief Officer Kirchner
1954 Destry as Phil Decker
1954 Drums Across the River as Frank Walker
1954 Carnival Story as Frank Colloni
1953 Forbidden as Justin Keit
1953 The Great Sioux Uprising as Stephen Cook
1953 All I Desire as Dutch Heinemann
1953 The Vanquished as Roger Hale
1952 Hurricane Smith as Clobb
1952 Denver and Rio Grande as Johnny Buff
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth as Klaus
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (2 episodes)
1951 Dear Brat as Baxter
1951 The First Legion as Dr. Peter Morrell
1950 Union Station as Joe Beacom
1950 Lux Video Theatre (1 episode)
1950 No Man of Her Own as Stephen 'Steve' Morley

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